To walk on the surface of the Moon is an adventure that has so far been undertaken by only 12 men in the history of mankind – of which only 4 are even still alive – and the last time it happened was almost 50 years ago when Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt touched down during the Apollo 17 mission.
Now, at last, a whole new generation will be walking on the lunar surface and this week NASA has revealed who those people will be – a team of 18 astronauts, some of which with experience aboard the International Space Station and others who have never flown off-world before.
“My fellow Americans, I give you the heroes of the future who will carry us back to the Moon and beyond,” said US Vice President Mike Pence during the reveal event in Florida.
Among those selected are some familiar names including Christina Koch – record holder for the longest continuous time spent in space for a woman – and Victor Glover – who recently launched to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.
Veteran astronaut Stephanie Wilson – who traveled into space three times aboard the Space Shuttles – is also on the list, as is Joseph Acaba – who has also been into space three times.
“This is the first cadre of our Artemis astronauts,” said Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine.
“I want to be clear, there’s going to be more.”
Which of these astronauts will be the first to go to the Moon however has yet to be revealed.